Arun Bharadwaj, a 24-year-old management student, after failing in his exams decided to end his life, talked about in social media and jumped off from the 19th floor in a hotel in Mumbai on 3rd of April, 2017. Reports suggest that he was a drug addict too.
His heart-wrenching story became the sensational headlines only because he died in a five-star hotel and he posted discussed suicide methods on his Facebook.What is more unfortunate than this is, every hour a student in our country is committing suicide according to 2015 survey by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
In 2010 the number of student suicide cases recorded was 8,934. After five years in 2017, it took a massive surge to 39.775. However, the number may vary because some suicides might leave unreported and some might have made a failed attempt.
According to 2012 Lancet report, India stands at number #1 position in world’s highest Student deaths rate, particularly youth of 15 to 19 ages.
Out of the Indian demographics on student deaths, Maharashtra itself recorded 14% of it (1230 out of 8,934), and Tamil Nadu recorded 955 followed by Chattisgarh with 625. The higher suicide rates of most advanced cities like Maharashtra and TamilNadu affect their economic growth.
The third richest state in India, Sikkim stands second at the level of unemployment. About 27% of the suicides in the state are because of unemployment, and all of them fall under the age group of 21 to 30 years of age.
A recent survey indicated that a lot of young people face a lot of pressure because of their failures and the absence of support from their families and the educational institutions are depressing them very much. Unfortunately, India has 87% shortage of mental-health professionals which leads to the young people committing suicides with the lack of mental support. India spends a lot less for mental health than Bangladesh.
Family background also plays a significant role in supporting the young students mentally. Students that come from unhappy families face a lot of depression. In an email interview, Shaibya Saldanha, co-Founder of an NGO, Enfold India works with children and adolescents. She said that the sense of helplessness that students feel because of their failures in exams makes them vulnerable to suicidal thoughts.
Because of the constant pressure from parents who don’t care about the individual dreams and the pressure from the educational institutions that blames the young students for the failures makes it hard for them cope up leading them to the death doors. The feeling that they are letting their families down makes the students helpless and ultimately ending their lives.
Saldanha expressed that the poor family relationships, high expectation towards unrealistic goals, the pressure of failures, lack of understanding about their peer relationships making the young students take an impulsive decision about ending their lives. The 2016 study proved that the students of social science and humanities failed in their academics only because of high depression and lack of families supporting hands.
Other than this the factor that drives the students to death is poverty. The financial issues also play the key role in these suicides. 70% of the students who committed suicides came from families that earn Rs. 1,00,000 or below per annum. Even though the factor is not directly relatable, it was evidently proved.
Student suicides may reduce in number if India spends enough on mental health. It only spends 0.06% of health budget on mental health. Even Bangladesh spends more on it(0.44%). Most developed nations will spend almost 4% on mental health research, infrastructure and frameworks.
Recently on this issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested the citizens that they should seek psychological help and talk about depression openly. On Bharadwaj’s suicide Actor Anupam Kher broke the silence, shared his email address and invited anyone who is suffering from depression can speak to him. Depression just needs a helping hand to cure either from the society or medically.
A psychiatrist Satyakanth Trivedi expressed that awareness about mental health should be mandatory in schools and colleges. The management should add it to the curriculum. Children can seek help only if they know what to do.
Saldanha suggested some similar measures eradicate depression. What she said is that the school and colleges should educate the children about sexuality and life skills. And when people get their marriage registered they should undergo parenting classes too because parents play the primary role in their children’s lives.
Universities in India facing the absence of counseling centers which provide the medical attention immediately for clinical depression.
In India, there are only 3800 psychiatrists, 898 clinical psychologists and merely 859 psychiatric social workers and 1500 psychiatric nurses. This means there are only three psychiatrists per a million people which is ridiculous. The data were recorded by Ministry of Family Welfare in the Lok Sabha in December 2015. According to WHO, the Commonwealth norm states that there should be 5.6 psychiatrists per 100000 people. By this, we can estimate that India is suffering a shortage of 66,200 psychiatrists.
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